Thomas and the Gospels: The Case for Thomas’s Familiarity with the Synoptics
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012.
Available at Amazon.com
In this book, the erudite Biblioblog Father, Prof. Mark Goodacre (Duke University) enters into the debate as to what relationship the Gospel of Thomas has with the Synoptic Gospels. Personally, I think Goodacre scores a slam dunk in showing the dependence of the GThom on the Synoptic Gospels. GThom shows awareness of the redactional features of Matthew and Luke which makes it unlikely that GThom is an earlier and independent version of the Jesus tradition. It makes me wonder if GThom is best described as an “esoteric Gospel harmony of Jesus loga.” Goodacre does a good job of showing that while GThom is not a wormhole into an earlier phase of the Jesus tradition, nonetheless GThom is an important document and essential for the study of Gospel literature. I also like Goodacre’s explanation as to why GThom is so Synoptic-like, namely, because the Synoptic sayings are the necessary baggage that GThom chooses to carry to make his newly constructed living Jesus accessible. The new Jesus gets a foot in the door by sounding like the old Jesus. Probably one place I would disagree with Goodacre is in his claim that GThom does not attempt to displace the Synoptics. Given the polemic against the other disciples in GThom, I can’t help but think that GThom tries to discredit the Gospels associated with them.
See also Goodacre’s video with Eerdmans about his book: